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Retail Shipping Statistics in Canada (2024)

Diana Zheng
March 9, 2024

As the second-largest country in the world by land area, Canada has a unique set of challenges and opportunities in retail shipping. Understanding the complexities of retail shipping statistics in Canada is not just about learning data analysis; it is a key to unlocking insights that can drive operational efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, and deal with the dynamic trends shaping the Canadian retail market.

Key Takeaways

  • Canada's 144,301 diverse retailers reflect unique dynamics shaped by population density, economic activity, and geography. Fast, cost-effective shipping fuels e-commerce growth, reaching CAD 473 billion in 2022, with a 4% CAGR. UPS and Canada Post lead parcel shipping, each holding 18%.
  • Canada adapts retail shipping with automation, data analytics, alternative fuels, and green tech for efficiency and sustainability amid changing consumer behaviours and economic shifts.
  • Consumer factors influencing total retail sales in Canada include online product reviews, pricing, and customer services. Understanding consumer expectations and preferences, especially regarding cost-consciousness and enhanced retail experiences, allows businesses to adapt and provide seamless customer interactions.

How many store retailers does Canada currently have?

Infographics of store retailers in Canada as of June 2023

According to statistics, Canada already has 144,301 various Canadian retailers. As of June 2023, for example, the province of Ontario holds the top spot in retail trade, with approximately 52,816 establishments. This reflects the province's economic vibrancy and diverse consumer market.

With over 32,325 total retail trade and establishments, Québec—the second most populated province— has the second most store retailers, showcasing its significance in the national retail sector. Meanwhile, British Columbia is the third province with a total retail trade of 20,922.

In contrast, Nunavut, a large but sparsely populated region, had a very different retail landscape, with only 85 stores. The noticeable difference in total retail and numbers across these regions reflects the intricate interplay between population density, economic activity, and geographical factors, shaping the retail dynamics unique to each province and territory in the expansive Canadian landscape.

Additionally, the disparities show how crucial it is to consider local characteristics when evaluating the retail commerce landscape because it is closely linked to the unique features of each location and not just a reflection of consumer demand.

Source: Retail Trade Establishments by Region in Canada

Retail Shipping Landscape in Canada

Getting across the enormous Canadian retail industry requires knowing the complex web of logistics that makes it possible for products to move from warehouses to consumer's doorsteps. From the bustling urban centres to the country's remote corners, let's shed light on the strategies, technologies, and market forces that orchestrate the seamless delivery of products in the Canadian retail ecosystem.

How does shipping affect retail e-commerce sales in Canada?

Infographics about the Canadian online shopper behaviour as per 2022

Shipping significantly impacts how retail e-commerce sales are shaped in Canada. Fast and cost-effective shipping companies enhance the appeal of online shopping, influencing purchasing decisions for your consumers. Timely deliveries contribute to customer satisfaction, building trust and loyalty.

On the other hand, prolonged shipping times or high costs can deter potential buyers. The vast geographic area adds complexity, making efficient shipping crucial. It ensures products reach customers promptly and contributes to the success and convenience of e-commerce transactions.

In 2022, the typical Canadian online shopper exhibited a noteworthy shift in behaviour, increasing the percentage of their average e-commerce orders per month to 26.4 - a substantial 60% surge compared to the figures observed each month since 2019. This increase reflects an evolving consumer landscape, where individuals now hold Canadian retailers to elevated expectations in this "new normal" era.

Retailers' transformed preferences and expectations need a corresponding adaptation from retailers to maintain engagement. In response to these changes, businesses must evolve and align with the changing consumer behaviour dynamics for sustained relevance and success in the digital marketplace.

Source: Canada Post E-Commerce Infographic

Who are the key players in the retail and shipping sectors?

Infographics about the state of Canadian e-commerce retail and shipping as of 2022

As of 2022, they estimate the size of the e-commerce sales in the Canadian retail market reached CAD 473 billion, with projections indicating a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) exceeding 4% throughout the forecast period from 2022-2027. Meanwhile, according to points, in 2022, e-commerce retail sales in Canada are expected to reach a value of approximately 110 billion Canadian dollars.

Forecasts indicate that the e-commerce market in Canada will witness substantial growth, predicting a surge to over 157 billion Canadian dollars by the year 2026. These estimates present the dynamic evolution of the digital retail e-commerce and landscape in Canada, highlighting the increasing significance of online commerce as a driving force in the country's retail sector over the specified period.

Within the Canadian retail market, several pivotal sectors, including food & grocery, clothing & footwear accessories, home, electrical, and health & beauty, play integral roles in addressing diverse consumer needs. In 2022, the food & grocery sector claimed the highest value share of sales, reflecting its paramount importance in the market.

Meanwhile, two prominent players, UPS and Canada Post, emerged as Canada's primary parcel shipping providers in 2022, collectively accounting for a substantial market share. These two each handled 18% of parcels during that period. Following closely, Purolator secured the second position with a share of 13% in the parcel shipping market.

Source: Canada Market Retail Analysis, Top Courier Service Providers in Canada

What are the changes in the Canadian retail shipping industry?

The Canadian retail shipping industry has recently undergone dynamic transformations driven by evolving consumer behaviours, technological advancements, and global economic shifts. As e-commerce continues to surge, there is a heightened emphasis on efficient and sustainable shipping solutions. Exploring these changes offers valuable insights into how the Canadian retail shipping sector adapts to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving market.

Technological Advancements

  • Automation and Robotics. Automation is increasingly utilized in ports and ship navigation to improve efficiency and lower costs. This covers self-driving trucks, self-navigating ships, and systems that manage containers automatically.
  • Data Analytics and Digitalization. Data analytics are helping to make shipping routes better, predict what customers will need, and improve how things are moved around. Also, digital platforms make it easier for everyone in the shipping industry to talk and work together.
  • Alternative Fuels and Green Technologies. People are considering using cleaner fuels such as natural gas, biofuels, and hydrogen. They're also investing in energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy sources to reduce the environmental impact of shipping.

Economic and Regulatory Charges

  • Globalization and Free Trade Agreements. Trade has increased significantly due to globalization, and supply networks have grown increasingly intricate. This has an impact on shipping methods. Hence, the shipping sector needs to be more adaptable. In addition, commerce is being influenced by agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreements for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
  • Evolving Consumer Trends. Customers want faster and more eco-friendly deliveries, pushing the industry to change. With more people shopping online, there's a need for better last-mile delivery options to get packages to customers efficiently.
  • Infrastructure Investments. The government and private investors see it as essential to invest in ports to handle more demand and work better. This involves projects to make ports bigger and more up-to-date, deepen harbour channels, and improve transportation networks on land.

Environmental Considerations

  • Climate Change Mitigation. Shipping is a significant source of greenhouse gases, so there's a push to make it more eco-friendly. This means using cleaner fuels, better technology to save energy, and creating routes for ships that are environmentally friendly. It's all about reducing the impact on the environment.
  • Sustainability and Environmental Protection. The shipping industry is dealing with more rules, and people care more about how it affects the environment, like air and water pollution, noise, and invasive species. This means they're putting more effort into doing things in a way that protects and protects the environment.

These are some important changes affecting the shipping industry in Canada. As the industry adjusts to new technologies, economic changes, and environmental concerns, you can anticipate additional improvements in services and changes in the coming years.

Trends and Challenges in E-Commerce Logistics

The rise of e-commerce has significantly impacted the landscape of Canadian logistics. Here are some of the most common trends and challenges:

Infographics about what's trending in the e-commerce logistics.


  • Drone Delivery. Drones are not just in movies anymore—they deliver packages to specific areas. They're designed to make deliveries faster, especially for things that need quick drop-offs. For instance, some items can reach customers within 30 minutes using drones.
  • Green Logistics. As sustainability gains prominence in business plans, logistics is also going green. Companies are opting for electric delivery vehicles and reusable containers to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.
  • Customize Delivery Options. Tailoring the shopping experience goes beyond the checkout. Regular, same-day, and even "experience-based" deliveries, such as surprise gifts wrapped in festive packaging, can enhance the customer's post-purchase experience.
  • Integrated Systems for Seamless Operations. In logistics, a big step forward is combining processes. It's not just about speed but also efficiency. Tech platforms now handle order processing, inventory, and customer communication together. This integration updates the list, prevents overselling, and informs customers about purchases.

These are a few trends and challenges observed in Canadian e-commerce logistics. As the industry expands, businesses must adjust to these changes and develop smart solutions to tackle these challenges.

Source: Trends in E-Commerce Logistics

Infographics about the challenges in the e-commerce logistics


  • Labour Shortages. Over the next decade, 43% of the marine workforce will retire, including 52% of engineering officers and 47% of deck officers. This means there's a need to bring in about 19,000 new workers, which is 68% of the workforce. Currently, there's a 7% vacancy rate for deck officers and a 6% vacancy rate for engineering officers, higher than the national average of 4%. The positions with the highest vacancies are those crucial for running a vessel, like deck and engineering officers.
  • Unexpected Weather. Severe snowstorms in winter often affect truck freight, causing delays in product deliveries. Unforeseen weather events, like floods in British Columbia in November 2021, can disrupt access to major ports, amplifying supply chain issues nationwide for several weeks. While we cherish our diverse seasons, these weather challenges highlight how crucial it is for Canadian vendors to be resilient and strategically plan to adjust to erratic conditions in the supply chain.
  • Fuel Hikes. In the past year, gas prices in Canada surged by over 50%, impacting transportation costs for moving freight. When fuel costs rise, transportation companies and motor vehicle and parts dealers may increase their prices, affecting businesses and, in turn, consumers who end up paying more for products. Record-high gas prices raise operational and development costs and increase shipping expenses for trucks, containers, and airplanes.

Sources: Challenges in the Canadian Supply Chain, Labour Shortages in Canada

Factors Influencing Retail Shipping in Canada

Let's explore the key factors influencing retail shipping in Canada and how they impact your business.

Regulatory Factors and Policies

Regulatory factors and policies in Canada have a direct impact on retail shipping. They shape shipping practices, safety standards, and trade regulations, influencing the efficiency and cost of shipping for businesses. Adapting to these policies is crucial for navigating the regulatory landscape and ensuring smooth retail shipping operations in the country.

Economic Factors Affecting Shipping Costs and Efficiency

Economic factors, like fuel prices and inflation, significantly impact shipping costs and efficiency in Canada. Fluctuations in these factors directly influence operational expenses, affecting the affordability and speed of retail shipping. Sellers must monitor economic data and trends to make informed decisions and optimize shipping strategies.

Environmental Considerations in the Shipping Industry

Environmental considerations in the shipping industry impact retail shipping in Canada. Growing awareness and regulations around sustainability drive the adoption of eco-friendly practices, influencing shipping methods and costs. Sellers adapting to green initiatives contribute to environmental protection and align with changing consumer preferences for sustainable and responsible business practices.

Key Retail Shipping Statistics

Understanding these numbers, from shipping to total retail sales to volumes to sales to popular modes, is your ticket to navigating the Canadian electronics retail landscape.

Shipping Volume Trends Over the Past Decade

Infographics about the retail shipping statistics of Canada Post in 2022

In 2022, Canada Post handled approximately 286 million parcels, marking a decline of about twenty percent from the previous year. Notably, Canada Post's parcel volume peaked in 2020 when it reached 389 million units, showcasing the symbol of the government dynamic trends in parcel deliveries in recent years.

Source: Canada Post Parcel Volume

Analysis of Popular Shipping Methods and Carriers

Checking out statistics on the popular ways to ship and the number of companies doing it helps Canadian sellers figure out what works best. Companies like FedEx, UPS, DHL Express, and Purolator offer fast but pricier options. Canada Post, a government service, gives reliable and budget-friendly choices.

Looking into these methods helps sellers find the right mix of speed and cost, meeting customer needs while keeping things efficient. It's about picking the best way to ship stuff in Canada and making sure it works well for both the seller and the customer.

Consumer Perspectives on Retail Shipping

Have you ever wondered what goes on in your customers' minds regarding shipping? Understanding consumer perspectives on the benefits of retail shipping is key to tailoring your strategies.

What factors affect total retail sales in Canada?

53% of shoppers always research before buying to make sure they're making the best choice. Here are some of the criteria they check before deciding:

Customers are checking online reviews more than ever, and many prefer to read several reviews before deciding on a product or service. Most surveyed consumers (57%) usually read 2 to 5 reviews, while more than a quarter (28%) prefer reading between 6 and 10 online reviews before deciding.

  • Product Review
  • Product Pricing
  • Customer Services

What are the expectations and preferences of Canadian consumers?

Canadian consumers face concerns about rising prices, a potential recession, and uncertainty. About 47% express significant worry about personal finances, leading 70% to reduce non-essential spending. Despite this, recent Statistics Canada data shows a year-over-year increase in retail sales, indicating resilient consumer spending.

While consumers prioritize cost-consciousness and seek enhanced digital and in-person retail experiences, businesses can seize opportunities by reducing costs and providing seamless user experiences. Combining human expertise and technology-driven innovation allows retailers to meet evolving expectations and stand out in the market, addressing consumer desires for efficiency and meaningful interactions.

Adapt And Optimize Your Shipping Strategies with Stallion

Stallion offers a comprehensive solution for Canadian sellers to adapt and optimize their shipping strategies. With a deep understanding of consumer preferences, Stallion provides valuable insights into popular shipping methods and carriers.

Whether leveraging private couriers like FedEx and UPS for speed or opting for the reliable and cost-effective options of Canada Post, Stallion equips sellers to make informed decisions. Staying attuned to consumer perspectives on retail sales and shipping, Stallion ensures that your shipping approach aligns with market trends, providing a competitive edge in the ever-evolving Canadian retail sales landscape.

Adapt and optimize with Stallion for a seamless and efficient shipping experience!

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